I handed her my debit card. The conversation had died. I resumed by saying: "I do this film review site, and people vote for what they want reviewed, and my friends ganged up and voted for Glee."
Now she laughed. "Oh! That sucks."
I grumbled a response, demonstrating obvious displeasure, and she giggled. "Maybe you'll like it?" she said. My turn to laugh. "Yeah, I'm going to come out of the theater singing." We smiled and waved goodbye.
The guy tearing tickets was 20-something, athletic looking. When I handed him the ticket, I felt I had to explain myself: "the drawbacks of having a movie review site," I said, sounding as disgusted as I could. The guy politely chuckled and said, "You know, I saw it, I liked it. But," he continued, speaking softer, apologetically, abashed, "then again, I'm a fan of the show."
He liked Glee and had liked the movie. When I mocked the movie, he reacted with self-conscious chagrin. I felt bad. And as Glee: the 3D Concert Movie progressed, I felt worse.
Director: Kevin Tancharoen
Rachel: Lea Michele
Finn: Cory Monteith
Brittany: Heather Morris
Blaine: Chris Colfer
Sam: Chord Overstreet (really?)
Mike: Harry Shum Jr.
Mercedes: Amber Riley
Blaine: Darren Criss
Artie: Kevin McHale
Santana: Naya River
Puck: Mark Salling
Tina: Jenna Ushkowitz
Lauren: Ashley Fink
The first five minutes of the concert don't involve a stage or singing or any of the stars. We see shot after shot of fans. Some shots are just people screaming and being excited about having a camera on them. Others have been asked a question: who is your favorite Glee character?
So Glee has combined the powers of vicarious, empathic storytelling that a television show like Friends or How I Met Your Mother utilizes to accrue such a dedicated fan base, with the boy-band, pop-band electricity that created the rabidness in the N'Sync/Backstreet Boys/Spice Girls faithfuls (that persists to this day). In other words: it's popular and, to many, almost holy.
I thought, "Oh, that's nice that they're including the fans." There were some shots of the actors and actresses backstage.
Then the stage came on screen, the music started. I thought: "And. Here. We. Go."
We cut to a girl talking. She's not part of the cast. She's a high school cheerleader. Then the cheerleading coach is talking about the girl. Then we see the girl is a little person.
What is this?
A few songs later, we meet another girl. We find out she has Asperger's. Last, we meet a guy. He came out in 8th grade, but it wasn't his decision (his journal was passed around the school (ouch)).
What I am saying is that the concert is juxtaposed with this documentary about these kids who had believed they were outcasts until Glee came along and changed their lives.
One might see Glee: The 3D Concert Movie as a way to squeeze more money out of fans.
A corporate marketing expert might say: it's a way to give fans an opportunity to see a concert they may not have been able to attend.
The Boston Globe said it "is as normal as spin-offs aimed at your wallet get, which is to say it's substandard in most departments."
I could bash the film. I thought about mocking it. But...
The attitude of Glee, the show, is: BE YOURSELF AND LOVE IT!!!!! And the film promotes that. The documentary-style subplots are a demonstration of the positive, esteem-boosting effects Glee has had on individual lives. Maybe you think this is great. Maybe you think this is more corporate monetization of human emotion. Has Glee really had the sort of epiphanic impact of "it's okay to be me" its marketing portrays? Maybe. Probably for some. Regardless of the show's potency, the truth is: it is okay to be yourself.
Did I really feel bad about having to see Glee? Not really. But I thought people would judge me for it, so I acted more upset than I really felt. I tried to play it off, play it cool. And this was fun with the box office girl, she and I could laugh about how awful this was going to be. But then I made the ticket dude feel embarrassed.
Was anyone actually judging me? No. Did I care that Ticket Dude likes Glee and like the movie? No. Did I want to make him feel bad. Absolutely not. But I upset him, and that's why I was upset during the movie.
I haven't suddenly become a Glee fan. I can't swallow the plot's melodrama. And I don't think the singing is good (but the singing for the concert was fine).
We all know the power of art (art in the broadest sense: something produced from the imagination). We all have a movie or book or song or poem or painting or vase or sculpture or play or TV show that resonates with us. That explains life to us. That makes us feel better when we're down. That can halt an earthquake if we need it to. (If I feel lost, watching Groundhog Day reminds me of the kind of person I want to be).
Glee: The 3D Concert Movie is an attempt to get money, is an opportunity for fans, and is (I agree) "substandard in most departments" (a lot of songs are half their normal duration, the documentary sections are quick). But, more than anything, it's a testament to why it's important to create art. Art empowers. Maybe not always as macro-ly as Glee, but you never know. I doubt the creators of Glee thought it would be this successful. And you never know the security you might give someone else.
Did I like it:
So: I like music, I like girls, and I like dancing.
This concert had all those things. So...
I wouldn't tell the skeptic to run out and see it. But if your friend or significant other keeps asking you to watch it with them, go ahead--I don't think you'll hate the experience (assuming you don't despise music or watching a screen) and you'll make someone you care about happy.
One actor has to perform in a wheelchair almost the entire time even though he's not actually handicapped. I kept picturing him rolling off the stage, and that provided me a good 50 minutes worth of amusement.
What It's Good For:
-watching attractive people sing and dance
-if you hate the show, you may not like this
-some songs are given short shrift
-Heather Morris isn't given enough screen time
-Groundhog Day: Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell, Chris Elliot, Harold Ramis
-Dancing: Step Up; Dirty Dancing; Black Swan; Singin' in the Rain; West Side Story
-Singing: Coyote Ugly; Chicago; Phantom of the Opera; Moulin Rouge
-Okay to be who you are: The Breakfast Club; (I'm really blanking on other movies)